2022-2024 Incubator

Policymaking in an Uncertain World

Policymaking in an Uncertain World

The 2022 Griffin Applied Economics Incubator was awarded to Lars Peter Hansen, of the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics.

Uncertainty is pervasive in many of the most important challenges for economic policy. All too often, uncertainty considerations get shunted to the background of economics. Although we live in a “data-rich” world, the ambition of “evidence-based policy” can only achieve success through the lenses of economic models. This is especially true in economic dynamics as the evidence can be rich along some dimensions and sparse in others. The use of explicit models opens the door to policy analyses that push beyond historical experience, but challenges remain in how to achieve this in ways that respect the limits to our understanding.

At the same time, our models in economics are at times stark simplifications and open the door to the challenge of how to use them in sensible ways. Models necessarily require subjective inputs, which in many settings we only know rather crudely. Pandemic and climate change policy are two prominent examples in which uncertainty considerations would seem to be vital inputs into policy design. An important aim of this research is to embrace uncertainty in broader terms than is typical in economic and econometric analyses. Recent advancements in decision theory are helpful in providing coherent approaches, but we want to push well beyond axioms and conceptual challenges. Through this research, we will aim to both enhance the quantitative toolkit for studying economic dynamics under uncertainty and to engage in revealing applications. Indeed, we expect a substantial amount of learning by doing in this process.

Learn more about the Incubator by visiting the Publications, Events, Visitors, and Research Grants pages.

PhD Student Visitor Program (NDVS) – March 20 – May 20, 2023

This visiting research program aims to host seminars, workshops, and opportunities to meet and interact with University of Chicago faculty and students. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to participate in other research-related activities under the theme, “Policymaking in an Uncertain World.” This program is under the faculty leadership of Professors Lars Peter Hansen, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, and Fernando Alvarez. 

The following students were selected to participate:

Juan Manuel Castro Vincenzi, Princeton University
Marco Thalhammer, RWTH Aachen University
Akash Raja, LSE
Carl Christian Kontz, Stanford University
Ghassane Benmir, LSE
Maxim Alekseev, Harvard University
Naomi Cohen, Sciences Po




Research Grants